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Can Political Culture Solve the Problems of Rational Choice? Explanations of Institutional Choice in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1989-1990

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Abstract:

While rational choice models of institutional choice in East-Central Europe offer many insights, they suffer major empirical failings. I test the possibility of improving upon such models by allowing for multiple goals and by using cultural and other information to specify actors? goals, while retaining the rational choice assumption that events can be understood in terms of actors? goal-maximizing behaviour. I build a model based on the Hungarian case, focusing on choices regarding electoral systems and the presidency. I then assess this model through extension to Czechoslovakia. I find that, while the model does offer significant insights, it also fails in important respects. The reasons for these failures suggest that the problems of rational choice are more fundamental than can be solved through multi-motivational modelling alone: culture must be used also to define the limits of choice itself.

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polit (104), prefer (82), power (77), choic (76), 1990 (70), model (70), institut (62), ration (54), havel (51), parti (49), actor (46), system (44), predict (43), 1989 (43), interest (39), democrat (38), dissid (36), liber (36), presid (35), argu (35), elector (34),

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Keywords: Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Central Europe, post-communist transition, rational choice, political culture, institutional choice, presidencies, electoral systems
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Renwick, Alan. "Can Political Culture Solve the Problems of Rational Choice? Explanations of Institutional Choice in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1989-1990" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-27 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66523_index.html>

APA Citation:

Renwick, A. , 2002-08-28 "Can Political Culture Solve the Problems of Rational Choice? Explanations of Institutional Choice in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1989-1990" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-27 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66523_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: While rational choice models of institutional choice in East-Central Europe offer many insights, they suffer major empirical failings. I test the possibility of improving upon such models by allowing for multiple goals and by using cultural and other information to specify actors? goals, while retaining the rational choice assumption that events can be understood in terms of actors? goal-maximizing behaviour. I build a model based on the Hungarian case, focusing on choices regarding electoral systems and the presidency. I then assess this model through extension to Czechoslovakia. I find that, while the model does offer significant insights, it also fails in important respects. The reasons for these failures suggest that the problems of rational choice are more fundamental than can be solved through multi-motivational modelling alone: culture must be used also to define the limits of choice itself.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 25
Word count: 11213
Text sample:
1 Can Political Culture Solve the Problems of Rational Choice? Explanations of Institutional Choice in Hungary and Czechoslovakia 1989 ­ 1990 Paper Delivered at the American Political Science Association Conference Boston 30th August 2002 Alan Renwick Un iversity of Oxford St John's College Oxford OX1 3JP alan.renwick@sjc.ox.ac.uk Abstract While rational choice models of institutional choice in East­Central Europe offer many insights they suffer major empirical failings. I test the possibility of im proving upon such models by allowing for
17­22. Weber Max (1961). ``Social Action and its Types''. In Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Sociological Theory vol. 1 edited by Talcott Parsons et al. . New York: Free Press of Glencoe 173­179. Wildavsky Aaron (1987). ``Cho osing Preferences by Constructing Institutions: A Cultural Theory of Preference Formation''. American Political Science Review 81 no. 1 (March) 3­21. Wolchik Sharon L. (1991). Czechoslovakia in Transition: Politics Economics and Society. London: Pinter. Wolchik Sharon L. (1997). ``The Czech Republic: Havel


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